AMERKS READY FOR HOME OPENER ON THURSDAYNews | 10/11/2011 4:36:30 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
WEEKLY NOTES: It’s been exactly six months since The Blue Cross Arena has hosted an American Hockey League game, but the Rochester Americans are now a mere 48 hours away from starting the next chapter in their already storied history. The 2011-12 campaign is currently underway and brings with it a new era of Amerks hockey highlighted by the highly anticipated reunion of the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans for a 30th season as affiliates. With several new faces in the lineup this season, in addition to a new bench boss at the helm, the road to the postseason is already in plain sight as Rochester enters its 56th season in search of its seventh Calder Cup. Looking ahead, Rochester’s homecoming week features three games in four nights, including two against North Division opponents.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS: Rochester’s 2011-12 Home Opener is set for Thursday, October 13 as it hosts the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. The contest is the first of two this season between the interconference rivals and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The Penguins enter the game as the reigning MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy winners as the AHL’s regular season points champion in 2010-11.
Prior to the game, fans are invited to re-live the storied history of the Rochester Americans franchise as more than 40 Amerks alumni walk the red carpet in celebration of the Amerks’ reunion with the Buffalo Sabres. The collection of former players and coaches will then be introduced on the ice during a pre-game ceremony. The red carpet event begins at 4:30 p.m. when the current Amerks players enter The Blue Cross Arena to be followed my members of the alumni, who will sign autographs and pose for pictures. The list of scheduled attendees includes 14 Amerks Calder Cup champions, 13 Amerks Hall of Famers and 11 former Amerks captains.
The Amerks will be in action the following night on Friday, October 14 when they meet the Lake Erie Monsters on the road for the first of six get-togethers this season. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena and can be heard live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. Rochester is 10-15-2 all-time against the Colorado Avalanche’s affiliate.
Rochester brings the weekend to a close on Sunday, October 16 as it returns home to host the Grand Rapids Griffins at The Blue Cross Arena. The 6:05 p.m. contest will be the first of six meetings this season between the North Division rivals and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The Amerks show a 22-27-3 lifetime record against the Griffins, including a 2-4-0 mark last season.
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Amerks enter the 2011-12 campaign with a 33-16-6 all-time home-opening record, outscoring their opponent 230-168.
MILESTONE WATCH: Back for a second stint with the Amerks, veteran forward Michael Ryan is five games away from his 400th professional game, 211 of which have been played in Rochester. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn is just seven games shy of 650 pro appearances. Fresh off scoring his first goal of the season, eight-year pro Colin Stuart sits just seven goals away from reaching the century mark in his pro career while second-year blueliner Drew Schiestel will reach 100 AHL games in his next two outings.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (0-1-0-0, 0 points) enters the week after suffering a 5-2 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs in its season opener this past Saturday at Copps Coliseum. Stuart and rookie forward Jonathan Parker each netted power-play goals for the Amerks and David Leggio turned aside 22 shots in the losing effort. Rookie forward Zack Kassian registered his first professional point with an assist, while Corey Tropp and T.J. Brennan earned their first points as Amerks. The game saw seven different Amerks rookies make their professional debuts, including defensemen Brayden McNabb and forwards Phil Varone, Shawn Szydlowsi, Parker, Riley Boychuk, Kassian and Marcus Foligno. The game also featured the AHL coaching debut of head coach Ron Rolston, who became the 29th head coach in the 55-year history of the franchise following seven seasons in the same capacity with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). Rochester native Derek Whitmore skated in his first game back with the Amerks on Saturday since making his pro debut with the team back in 2007-08.
AMERKS WEEKLY SCHEDULE*
*schedule subject to change